Xcel Energy sending New Mexico crews to aid in Sandy power restoration

Posted at: 10/30/2012 4:40 PM
By: Steve Mieczkowski, KOB.com

Xcel Energy will send more than 30 New Mexico and Texas employees to Wytheville, Va. to assist Appalachian Power Company in restoring electricity service after post-tropical cyclone Sandy spawned heavy snowstorms and caused tens of thousands of customers to lose electricity in the area.

The area employees will stage their departure between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. Wednesday from the Xcel Energy Amarillo Technical Center in Amarillo. Employees assisting in the effort are based in Hobbs, Carlsbad, Clovis, Tucumcari and Roswell in New Mexico; and Levelland, Seminole, Plainview, Canyon, Hereford, Amarillo, Borger, Perryton and Lubbock in Texas. They will travel more than 1,000 miles over three days to reach their destination. It's not known how long their deployment will last.

AEP made the request through a national mutual-aid network, and specifically asked for Xcel Energy’s assistance.

Riley Hill, president and CEO of Southwestern Public Service Company, said area line and service personnel have a long history of helping restore power in other parts of the country.

“We feel for the thousands of Virginians who are suffering the impacts of this storm, and we know if we were affected by a natural disaster, other companies would help us. We have some of the best linemen in the nation, and we’re honored to play a role in helping our neighbors, even if they live more than 1,000 miles away.”

The teams from Xcel Energy will include representatives from management, field operations, fleet mechanics, and safety consultants.

“As in any restoration effort, safety is our No. 1 concern, and we’ll meet up each day in safety huddles to share best practices that will keep us sharply focused on performing this work without injuries,” Hill said.